Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation, and Ecosystem Management (BEHAVE)


Antiemetic Drugs Attenuate Food Aversions in Sheep

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Journal of Animal Science






American Society of Animal Science

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Ruminants learn to avoid many foods that contain toxins by associating the flavor of the foods with aversive postingestive feedback. We hypothesized the emetic system is a cause of aversive feedback, and three experiments were conducted to determine whether antiemetic drugs (diphenhydramine, metoclopramide, dexamethasone) would attenuate food aversions caused by the toxicant lithium chloride (LiCl). Lambs were assigned to one of four treatments: antiemetics plus LiCl (A + L), antiemetics alone (A), LiCl alone (L), or neither antiemetics nor LiCl (C). The LiCl was administered immediately after sheep ate oats, wheat, and milo in Exp. 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The antiemetics were given 1 h before and at the time LiCl was administered to sheep. Lambs that received antiemetics (A and A + L) consistently ate more grain than lambs that did not receive the drugs (C and L) (Exp. 1, P < .08; Exp. 2, P < .05; Exp. 3, P < .08), and there was no interaction between antiemetics and LiCl. Thus, the results of all three experiments were consistent with the hypothesis that antiemetic drugs attenuate food aversions caused by the toxicant LiCl because sheep receiving antiemetic drugs (Group A + L) ate more grain than sheep not receiving the drugs (Group L). In addition, we suggest aversive postingestive feedback limited intake of grain because sheep receiving antiemetic drugs (Group A) ate somewhat more grain than sheep not receiving the drugs (Group C).


Originally published by the American Society of Animal Science.

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